Archive for December, 2016

Ways to Give Back This Holiday Season

Posted on December 23, 2016 by Laura Lam

During the holiday season, words like “values”, “impact”, and “empathy” feel especially relevant. People across the economic spectrum feel drawn to giving back to their communities and the causes that matter to them. But during this busy time of year, translating good intentions into action can feel overwhelming.  How can we really make a difference? A Desai Foundation study found that people were not sure how to give, when to give, or how much to give. The “giving” phenomenon is often wrapped up in monetary donations and recognition, but we forget that giving is really about service. And we can all…

5 Housing Predictions for 2017

Posted on December 22, 2016 by Laura Lam

The housing market in 2016 was largely defined by two main trends: rising home prices nationwide and falling interest rates due to political events such as the Brexit vote and the U.S. presidential election. While certain features of the housing market this year are expected to remain the same in 2017, such as the popularity of Western metropolitan areas, others are expected to change. From the rising influence of millennials to shifting trends in home prices and housing inventory, here’s a look at the top housing market trends for 2017, according to Joe Kirchner, senior economist at Realtor.com. Millennials and…

Subprime Borrowers Have Stopped Paying Auto Loans

Posted on December 21, 2016 by Laura Lam

More Americans are behind on their auto loans, which is keeping some banking experts up a night.  Roughly 6 million individuals are at least 90 days late on their car payments. The number of auto loans sinking into delinquency hit their highest level since 2010 in the third quarter, according to data from Federal Reserve Bank of New York researchers. The broader auto loan market remains robust. The total delinquency rates rose by just 3.6% in the third quarter, kept low by loans issued by banks and credit unions. Subprime auto loan delinquencies, in contrast, have worsened significantly in the past few years, rising to levels not…

Higher Rates May Cool Housing Market in 2017

Posted on December 20, 2016 by Laura Lam

Higher mortgage rates are expected to put a damper on the housing market’s potential along with home price appreciation next year, according to First American Financial Corp. First American predicts that the home price growth rate could decline by nearly a percentage point by the end of next year due to higher mortgage rates, according to Mark Fleming, the company’s chief economist.  Existing-home sales are also expected to go down. “The ‘taper-tantrum’ in 2013, which was a larger increase in mortgage rates than we have seen in recent weeks, produced a similar result — a decline in sales activity, but…

CMBS Delinquency Rate at Highest Level Since Dec. ’15

Posted on December 19, 2016 by Laura Lam

The Trepp CMBS Delinquency Rate continued to climb in November. The rate began to rise in March as loans from the 2006 and 2007 vintages started to reach their maturity dates, which has caused the reading to move higher in 8 of the last 9 months. The delinquency rate for US commercial real estate loans in CMBS is now 5.03%, an increase of 5 basis points from October. The rate is now only 10 basis points lower than the year-ago level. At one point this year, the rate was showing a year-over-year improvement of 143 basis points. The delinquency reading…

2016 Holiday Tipping Guide

Posted on December 16, 2016 by Laura Lam

The holiday season is traditionally the time Americans choose to thank those who provide them with year-round services. It’s important to remember that holiday tipping is truly about saying thank you. With a little creativity you can accommodate everyone on your list this year without blowing your budget. Here are some things to consider when you’re deciding how to thank people, whom you will spend money on, and how much you will spend: Your budget: You shouldn’t feel obligated to go beyond your personal budget. If your budget does not allow for tips, consider homemade gifts; and if you’re not…

Report Finds Many ‘Unscoreable’ Consumers ‘Creditworthy’

Posted on December 15, 2016 by Laura Lam

Many consumers without traditional credit scores are nevertheless creditworthy and could qualify for mortgages, according to recent research.  Millions of people considered unscoreable by conventional standards have credit profiles nearly identical to those with access to mainstream credit, the report claims. The white paper comes from VantageScore, developer of the alternative credit scoring model that competes with the FICO score. The company has been trying unsuccessfully for a decade to persuade the government-sponsored enterprises, and more recently, their regulator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, to approve the VantageScore model for use by mortgage lenders. Today, the alternative model is used…

Homeowners See Equity Rise 11%

Posted on December 14, 2016 by Laura Lam

The amount of equity homeowners hold grew by $726 billion, or 10.8%, in the third quarter of 2016 versus the year before, according to data from CoreLogic.  On a quarterly basis, the equity in residential properties secured by mortgages rose by $227 billion, or 3.1%, CoreLogic reported.  The increase pulled 384,000 borrowers out of negative equity. Altogether, 93.7% of all mortgaged properties are now in positive equity. The rise in home equity was mainly the result of price appreciation. “Home equity rose by $12,500 for the average homeowner over the last four quarters,” said Frank Nothaft, chief economist for CoreLogic….

The Cost of the ’12 Days of Christmas’ in 2016

Posted on December 13, 2016 by Laura Lam

Have you ever wondered how much each of those gifts mentioned in tune would cost your true love?  PNC released its annual Christmas Price Index and it showed that prices for items from the Christmas carol “The 12 Days of Christmas” rose by 0.7% from last year. That’s slightly up from the 0.6% pace in 2015. The cost of everything on the list, from the partridge to the drummers, totaled $34,363.49, an increase of a few hundred dollars from last year. But as the carol goes, all of the gifts except the drummers are counted multiple times, bringing the cost up to…

FHA to Increase Loan Limits for 2017

Posted on December 12, 2016 by Laura Lam

The Federal Housing Administration will increase its national loan limit “floor” to $275,665 in 2017 from $271,050. This limit is set at 65% of the national conforming loan limit, which the Federal Housing Finance Agency said would expand to $424,100.  The agency also said that its loan limit “ceiling” in high-cost areas would rise to $636,150 from $625,500. The ceiling figure is 150% of the national conforming loan limit. The loan limit “floor” applies to areas where 115% of the median home price is less than 65% of the national conforming loan limit. Wherever the loan limit is higher than…